Who paid for federal hurricane relief in Florida, Texas and Louisiana? Not President Donald Trump. ("Trump's taxes show years of not paying," front page, Sept. 28.) Who paid the military to protect our shores and fight our wars? Not Trump. Who paid for the Food and Drug Administration to protect our food and drugs from contamination? Not Trump. Who paid for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all their work fighting the coronavirus? Not Trump. Who paid the millions to the Secret Service to protect Trump on his golf weekends? Not Trump. Who paid for federal prisons that lock up corrupt officials? Not Trump.
Who will I vote for in November along with, I hope, millions of others? Not Trump.
Glenn Monson, Rochester, Minn.
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Immediately after the New York Times report on Trump's tax returns, he denounced it as "fake news." Well, Mr. President, this time you can easily prove your claim. Release your "real" tax returns.
Sally Thomas, Edina
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I've never been a fan of Trump, for all the reasons articulated in mainstream media.
However, we must view the revelations in his tax returns with circumspection. His tax shelters are no panacea. It makes no business sense to lose a buck to save 35 cents in taxes. Trump's tax-loss carryforwards are only deferring a collapse of his business "empire." It speaks more to a failing business enterprise than to tax evasion. Tax avoidance, not tax evasion, is perfectly legal. Who, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pays more income tax than they must?
The bigger picture is Trump is true to form. His purported "business acumen" is indeed bluster.
Charles Corcoran, Stillwater
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Trump's tax records prove that he is a tax cheat, a fraud and a con man. He shirks his obligations and lets hardworking Americans pay the taxes needed for COVID research and everything else our government does.
But that's not the worst of it. He is personally on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in loans that will come due in the next several years. Who holds those loans? What power do they have over him? What will he do to avoid paying those loans, at America's expense? Trump is a national security threat, and he is unfit for office — as are any GOP candidates who continue to support him.
Pamela J. Snopl, Minneapolis
On issues, one side is nearly mute
Keith Burris in his Sept. 28 commentary "Any chance we'll get to hear about the issues?" says, "Instead of major issues, [President Donald] Trump focuses on what he sees as [Joe] Biden's lack of toughness, mental and physical, while Biden focuses on what he sees as Trump's unworthiness."
That is just a little too "fair and balanced"! Consider the issues of the coronavirus, health care and climate change. Democrats have a party platform and Biden speaks on these issues. Republicans have presented no new platform, no coherent policy and only destructive plans.
The U.S. has more than 20% of global coronavirus deaths, with just over 4% of global population. Trump demeans simple measures like masks and distancing and pushes for reopening without coherent guidance and focused financial support. Biden plans for science-guided safe and sustainable reopening and will employ mask mandates, test-and-trace techniques, personal protective equipment, and proven treatments and vaccines.
Health care is especially critical in the midst of a pandemic. Trump's Justice Department is supporting a Texas case before the Supreme Court to end the Affordable Care Act with no replacement plan. Biden plans to strengthen the ACA, reduce Medicare eligibility age to 60, add a Medicare-like public option and allow Medicare to purchase drugs competitively to provide affordable health care to all Americans.
Climate change is an existential threat impacting us now. Trump has withdrawn from global efforts, is easing auto emission standards, opposes gas-well methane emissions constraints, and has no positive plans. Biden will rejoin and lead global efforts. He has committed to pursue a nearly $2 trillion plan to create jobs and advance clean energy to a zero-carbon-emissions electricity sector by 2035.
How can there possibly be an intelligent debate on these issues when only one side has thought them through?
Don Bailey, Bloomington
What unacceptable behavior
Last week we had the pleasure of participating in the door-to-door random COVID-19 survey ("Surveys halted amid racism, intimidation," front page, Sept. 26). We did it on our patio and it was very professional, socially distanced and masked. We even commented on the "Minnesota nice" reputation as one of the surveyors was from out of state.
How sad it was to hear that the survey had been suspended because of alleged racial slurs, etc. We are in outstate Minnesota and find it completely unacceptable. Shame on those who are responsible for the ending of this important survey.
Donna Dahl, Austin, Minn.
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It is unconscionable that the door-to-door COVID testing survey has been shut down due to alleged intimidation in rural areas of Minnesota! The shortsighted and irate individuals who reportedly used racist insults and threats should be exposed. Who are these people? If we give in and let this insightful Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project slide, everyone loses. There simply has to be a way forward that protects the health workers, reduces privacy fears and gets the word out to uninformed and biased populations.
This is not government overreach or a political exercise, for goodness' sake! Your life or the lives of your loved ones could be in medical jeopardy. The CDC must be determined and not give in to unwarranted fears and anger.
For the sake of our own health and the health of our loved ones, try, try and try again. The untold spread and suffering COVID has caused is tragic; therefore, out of pure necessity, quantifying and stopping this virus is paramount.
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
Listen and persuade; don't shame
As COVID-19 continues its spread across Minnesota, one focus has been on college students at the University of Minnesota and other institutions ("State's COVID-19 spread now rated 'uncontrolled,' " front page, Sept. 26). The growing number of COVID-19 cases is certainly fueled by crowding without protection in bars and other social events, and such practices should be discouraged. However, what doesn't work is to simply label students as irresponsible and callous. The belief that making people feel bad enough will lead to behavior change isn't an effective strategy for most of us, including many college students who for generations have often correctly questioned existing authority.
The alternative for effective behavior change is to start by respectfully understanding a person's feelings as valid, without criticizing or blaming. We can then engage that person to consider potential alternatives that address their concerns. Social affiliations are important for young people, and the isolation and absence of traditional school structures imposed by the coronavirus pandemic can contribute to feelings of stress and vulnerability. In one recent survey, 63% of those age 18-24 reported symptoms of significant anxiety or depressive disorders.
We need to engage college students as partners in developing a solution rather than framing them as the problem. For example, we should partner with student groups and organizations to identify safer and imaginative ways that important needs for social affiliation can be met. The passion, energy and creativity of our young people is a resource that needs to be fully integrated into all COVID planning and implementation programs in colleges and elsewhere.
Alan Lifson, Minneapolis
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